When it comes to attracting sports events to Northern California, standing apart from the rest is what gives a city an advantage. There are many great locations in the region to host a sports tournament, but Stockton has taken a number of planners by surprise.
According to Wes Rhea, executive director of the Stockton Convention and Visitors Bureau, there is a lot that sets Stockton apart, including a central location and easy accessibility, a dry and reliable climate that lets it host events nearly 10 months out of the year, and affordable rates for hotels and sports facilities. But what many people do not realize about this non-coastal California city is that it has the ability to handle a lot of water-related events, and that is a big selling point.
“We have a downtown waterfront and we’re really close to the water,” Rhea said. The city has hosted FLW Bass tournaments and the Bass Masters at its facilities, and Rhea said they are always looking at what else they can do in the water, such as rowing, canoeing or crew. For sports planners looking for a somewhat different location for a water sport, Stockton could be a great option. Especially considering what else it offers.
“We’re able to work with our facilities and hotels to get rates and typically we find them to be very competitive,” Rhea said. “We have a large variety of options…there’s a lodging option for everybody.”
The city boasts 2,500 hotel rooms and offers amenities that range from the high-end to low, so everyone should be able to find exactly what they want. Rhea noted that the CVB has strong sponsorship and sports grants programs, and the community provides a lot of support for events, which usually defers the cost of lodging for sports teams, making it super-convenient and affordable, not to mention welcoming.
As far as service, Rhea and his team go out of their way to help sports planners with their events, from organizing web and social media marketing to assisting with public relations and working with local media to promote a tournament. The staff also provides teams with all the necessary information they need to have a memorable time in Stockton even when they are not competing.
Rhea said they will also take care of all the small details, such as coordinating transportation, tours and site visits.
With this kind of commitment to sports events in Stockton, there really is no limit to what can be done here. The city just hosted the U.S. trials for baton twirling and will be holding the 2014 nationals, which will bring 800 athletes to Stockton and marks the first time the event will come back to the West Coast since 1996. Stockton has also hosted American Junior Golf events, the U.S. National Karate Federation competition and various regional and state softball tournaments.
One of the main reasons it can handle all these sports events is because of its top-notch facilities, which include:
This sports venue is located on the downtown waterfront and can accommodate a variety of activities, holding over 10,000 spectators for basketball, hockey, soccer, volleyball, wrestling and much more.
Alex G. Spanos Center
This facility is located in the southwest corner of the University of the Pacific campus, which also houses many other great sports venues. This is the site of men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and other athletics. It offers seating for 6,150 spectators.
Bill Simoni Field
This university facility boasts 350 stadium seats and ample grass space where fans can sprawl out to watch all the baseball action.
Located on the waterfront, this professional minor league baseball park is home to the Single A Stockton Ports team. It has seating for 5,200 fans.
Regional Sports Complex
This 70-acre venue features four softball diamonds, with plenty of seating around each diamond.
Janssen-Lagorio Multipurpose Gym
A 23,732-square-foot multi-purpose gymnasium, Janssen-Lagorio can be divided into two practice gyms via central curtain. Each side can be turned into a regulation basketball court or three volleyball courts. It also features an athletic training room.
Stockton Soccer Complex
A popular location for soccer tournaments, this complex boasts eight full-size fields, four of which are lighted for night games.
Stockton prides itself on providing everything that sports teams could possibly need when they put on a sports tournament, plus a little extra to make it truly memorable.
“It’s not about just getting you here and ignoring you,” Rhea said. “It’s more about making sure your experience here is as positive as possible.”
Wes Rhea, Executive Director
Stockton Convention & Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 2336
Stockton, CA 95201